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Kenan Thompson (born May 10, 1978) is an American actor and comedian. He has been a current cast member of Saturday Night Live who currently holds the record of SNL's longest-serving cast member in the show's history. Thompson was added to the cast in 2003, along with Finesse Mitchell. Thompson was a featured player until 2005 (spanning the 29th and 30th seasons) and he was promoted to repertory player at the beginning of season 31 (the 2005–2006 season).

Thompson and Finesse usually appeared together in sketches, either as two slackers at work or as a married white supremacist couple (Kenan occasionally plays women's roles, such as Wanda Sykes or Star Jones-Reynolds).

Kenan Thompson is the first cast member in the history of Saturday Night Live to be born after SNL's 1975 debut. He is also the only alumnus of the kid's sketch show All That to graduate to SNL (although his All That and Kenan & Kel co-star Kel Mitchell also auditioned). He was raised in Atlanta, Georgia.

Thompson began his acting career in the early 1990s and he was an original cast member of Nickelodeon's sketch comedy series All That, where he often collaborated with co-star Kel Mitchell. In 1996, they began starring in their own sitcom Kenan & Kel (1996–2000). Thompson also had roles in The Mighty Ducks franchise, Good Burger, and as the title character in the 2004 film Fat Albert.

He has been nominated five times for a Primetime Emmy Award for his work on SNL, winning once. He is ranked at No. 88 on VH1's 100 Greatest Teen Stars.

Thompson has been a cast member on SNL for 21 seasons, breaking the record for the longest-tenured cast member in the show's history previously held by Darrell Hammond, who was on the show for 14 years. Thompson became the most senior cast member in the second half of the 2013–14 season, following the departure of Seth Meyers. He is also the longest-serving African-American cast member, surpassing longtime former cast member Tim Meadows, who stayed on the show for ten seasons. Thompson also holds the record for most celebrity impressions performed on the show, performing 139, beating Hammond's previous record of 107. Although early on he planned to stay on the show until something else came along, by 2019 he noted that SNL was his "forever plan".

In 2009, Thompson was a regular voice actor in the Fox cartoon series Sit Down, Shut Up, portraying Sue Sezno who, like her last name, always says no. The series premiered on April 19, 2009, but it was canceled after only four episodes due to low ratings and poor reviews. Thompson voiced the LeBron James puppet in Nike's MVP "Most Valuable Puppets" commercials, which were produced to be shown throughout the 2009 NBA playoffs. Thompson also guest-starred as Gus's estranged college singing buddy on the USA Network series Psych in the fourth-season episode "High Top Fade Out". In 2011, he returned to Nickelodeon, guest-starring in "iParty with Victorious", a crossover episode of sitcoms iCarly and Victorious.

Thompson appeared as a host of sorts of TeenNick's retro programming block, The '90s Are All That, appearing in many of the block's early bumpers and hyping material. He would return to the block, eventually called NickRewind but at the time called The Splat, for All That's 22nd anniversary, with segments filmed at the 2015 New York Comic-Con.

In 2015, movie ticketing website Fandango announced that Thompson would play their brand character, Miles Mouvay. Thompson would play Mouvay in 18 videos, eight 30-second commercials, and a few comedic skits.

On September 23, 2015, Thompson appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon alongside former All That co-star Kel Mitchell in which they reprised their popular Good Burger roles as "Ed" and "Lester Oakes, Construction Worker". They later competed against one another in an episode of the revived Nickelodeon game show Double Dare that aired in November 2018.

In 2019, Thompson served as a judge for NBC's comedy competition series Bring the Funny. He also became an executive producer with Mitchell for Nickelodeon's All That revival, premiering in June.

In 2020, he became the spokesman for Universal Destinations & Experiences’ "Let Yourself Woah" campaign, and he was set to host the 2020 White House Correspondents' Dinner before it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2021, his sitcom on NBC, called Kenan premiered, in which he plays a widowed father. SNL co-star Chris Redd also stars on Kenan, as Gary, the main character's brother, which it was cancelled in January 2022.

Thompson be named host of that year's Nickelodeon 2021 Kids' Choice Awards and People's Choice Awards. He also hosted The Jonas Brothers Family Roast on Netflix.

As of the March 5, 2022 episode, the fourteenth episode of Season 47, Thompson has appeared in more than 1,500 sketches of SNL, hosted by actor Oscar Isaac.

He appears in the third episode of the revival of The Kids in the Hall as Ron, a Friend of the Kids in the Hall and hosted the NHL Awards in June 2022.

He hosted the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards on September 12, 2022 on NBC.

In commemoration of his 20th anniversary on the show, Thompson received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on August 11, 2022. It was placed next to Lorne Michaels' star.

For Season 48, Kenan Thompson marked his 20th season in the cast of Saturday Night Live.

On March 11, 2023, the fifteenth episode of Season 48, hosted by actress Jenna Ortega, star of the Netflix's hit comedy horror series Wednesday and two of the hit Scream franchise: Scream and Scream VI, and the former child star of Disney Channel's comedy series Stuck in the Middle, with musical guests The 1975, Thompson hits his record extending 1600th sketches on SNL.

As of the April 1, 2023 episode, the sixteenth episode of Season 48, hosted by writer, producer, actress, and comedian Quinta Brunson, the creating, executive producing, co-writing, and starring in the ABC comedy series Abbott Elementary, with musical guest Lil Yachty, Kenan Thompson reaches another major milestone tonight when he appears in his 400th SNL episode as a cast member.

In December 2023, Thompson released a memoir book, titled When I Was Your Age.

As of May 18, 2024, the season finale of Season 49, hosted by actor Jake Gyllenhaal, with musical guest Sabrina Carpenter, Thompson achieves his record of 1700th sketches on SNL.

Impressions and Characters[]

Impressions[]

Characters[]

  • Barbara Birmingham
  • Bartender
  • Burt Simpson
  • Crabby
  • D'Andre Cole
  • Darnell Hayes
  • D.J. Dynasty Handbag
  • Dan
  • David "Beef Jelly" Winfield
  • Diondre Cole
  • DJ Sugar Shock
  • Elliot Pants
  • Givindy
  • Googie Rene
  • Grady Wilson
  • Jake Denmont
  • Jean K. Jean
  • K Smoove
  • Kenneth
  • Lorenzo MacIntosh
  • Lou
  • Malik
  • Marcus Banks
  • Malcolm Seats
  • Narrator
  • Oscar Rogers
  • Randy Dukes
  • Reba McEntire
  • Reggie Hudson
  • Resse D'What
  • Sam Jeffers
  • Scary Gary Loomis
  • Steve Kane
  • Trey
  • Virginiaca Hastings
  • Spectrum technician

SNL Career[]

Personal Life[]

On Veteran's Day 2011, Thompson married Christina Evangeline and together they have two daughters Georgia and Gianna Thompson born in June 2014 and August 2018. On April 7, 2022, it was announced that the two had been separated for over a year, but they remain co-parenting their two daughters. On June 15, 2022, it was announced that Thompson was officially filing for divorce.

Gallery[]

Preceded by:
Darrell Hammond
Longest-serving cast member (20 seasons)
(2017— present)
Followed by:
N/A
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